Supply ship carrying needed tools docks with Mir
In this story:
March 17, 1998
The Progress cargo craft approaches Mir
Web posted at: 12:03 a.m. EST (0503 GMT)
MOSCOW (CNN) -- A Progress M-38 cargo ship carrying a badly needed set of wrenches reached Russia's Mir space station Tuesday and docked without mishap.
The Itar-Tass news agency said the cargo ship, which was launched from Baikonur cosmodrome on Sunday, reached Mir at 3:31 a.m. (0031 GMT) carrying among other items a spare set of wrenches to help open a jammed airlock.
"The docking went off successfully in an automatic mode,
just as it was planned," Itar-Tass reported.
The Progress tug was packed with several tons of supplies,
including water, fuel, technical equipment, food and letters for the crew that includes commander Talgat Musabayev, engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA astronaut Andrew Thomas.
Musabayev and Budarin will use the new wrenches to replace the set they broke earlier this month trying to open a hatch to go on a spacewalk.
Without the wrenches, the hatch could not be opened and the walk had to be canceled. The cosmonauts planned to fasten a metal support beam to a solar panel that was damaged in a collision last June with another Progress cargo ship.
The beam is intended to keep the panel from breaking away.
Mission Control says the cosmonauts will try again on April 1.
Cargo includes new engines
Mir space station
The two Russians are expected to make at least five spacewalks before their return to Earth next August. One of their projects is to replace one of Mir's orientation engines, which help keep the station properly aligned.
Progress is also carrying a new propulsion engine to replace the one that has been used since Mir was launched 12 years ago last month.
Mir was designed to last only five years, and last year suffered a number of accidents and equipment failures. But most of the problems have been fixed and things have been calmer in the past few months.
Russian space officials want to keep Mir in orbit at least until next year, when a new international space station is expected to be put aloft.
Reuters contributed to this report.